September 18, 2020
PLEASE GIVE TWO MINUTES OF YOUR TIME TO SUPPORT THE PANDEMIC'S #ForgottenFaces
With the election less than 50 days away, members of Congress are feeling pressure to come back to the negotiation table for a COVID-19 relief package. On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would remain in session until an agreement is struck.
Although neither party has advanced a new proposal at this point, pressure from advocates is mounting—our voices ARE being heard! With the pressure on, members of Congress must continue hearing from constituents that COVID-19 relief is necessary, or else the consequences—for public health, for states, for the economy and, yes, for their chances of reelection—will be significant.
Moreover, the timing couldn’t be better. As we celebrate Direct Support Professional Recognition Week this week, signs of DSPs’ essential contributions to the livelihood and well-being of people with disabilities are on full display. Now is the time to proclaim: Congress MUST do right by DSPs and the people they support—the pandemic’s #ForgottenFaces.
The reality is that agencies that employ DSPs to deliver community-based services have been forced to make impossible choices to ensure the sustainability of supports. Without desperately needed funding, many may not stay afloat through the winter, leaving people with disabilities with too few options and resources to live independently and in the community.
This untenable situation will not change without congressional action, and congressional action won’t happen without your voice. Please take 2 minutes today to demand that your members of Congress step up. You’re doing your job; the time for them to do theirs is long overdue.
Click on >>>> ANCOR'S email tool <<<<< and follow the simple steps to continue pressuring Congress to stop putting politics ahead of people by increasing funding for Medicaid disability supports and states before lawmakers leave Washington at the end of the month.
Information Provided by ANCOR: American Network of Community Options & Resources
August 19, 2020
We need your help! Collectively, we are the voice for your people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as those with mental illness, throughout New Jersey. ALL of our voices need to be heard. Even if you have taken action in the past, we ask you to do it again.
We have provided you THREE areas of ACTION to consider taking. We hope that you will consider acting on them all.
1. Please take one minute to ask Congress to include funding for disability supports and services as it negotiates its final COVID-19 package. By going to this LINK at Ancor and filling out your information, you will be advocating for:
Dedicated funding for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services to serve people with disabilities in their homes and communities and will provide better wages and support for the DSP workforce.
Funding for state and local governments to shore up state budgets as they deal with pandemic expenses.
Increased federal FMAP to help states pay for pandemic related expenses in the Medicaid system.
2. Here, on the home front, New Jersey is experiencing significant budget shortfalls due to the pandemic. State departments may have to reduce or reconfigure their spending which could impact the supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Governor Murphy will deliver his FY21 Budget Address on August 25. Before then, the Governor must hear from those of us that are advocating for your loved ones about the importance of services and how any potential cuts would be incredibly harmful.
Additionally, we must urge the Governor to include the proposals he originally intended to include prior to the pandemic: funding to raise DSP wages and funding to increase the day program rate. The needs we had before the pandemic have not gone away and those funds are critical to the service delivery system.
We ask you to take Action Now: Contact Governor Murphy in one the following ways:
Visit this site to send a message. In the drop down box under Topic, select Developmental Disabilities. Fill in the rest of the form with your contact information. In the Subject line, write FY21 Budget, and then paste the following text into the message box:
Dear Governor Murphy,
Thank you for supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families as the state deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. As you prepare the FY21 budget, please don't cut funding for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Cuts of any kind would have a devastating impact on supports and services for a community that's already been immensely hurt by COVID-19. Additionally, I urge you to include funding to increase Direct Support Professional wages and the day program rate, as you intended to do prior to the pandemic. Your original funding proposals to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are needed now more than ever. Thank you.
Send a Tweet. Paste in the following message on Twitter:
Please @GovMurphy, NO CUTS impacting people with developmental disabilities in the FY21 Budget. And we still need funding for DSPs and day programs!
Call Governor Murphy at (609)-292-6000 and provide the following message:
Please don't cut funding that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. It is also very important that funding for Direct Support Professionals and Day Program are included in the Budget . The need to address both of those items hasn't changed because of COVID.
3. Make your voice heard! We are asking for the state to maintain the FY 2020 funding levels for all community-based behavioral health programs for the FY 2021 state budget. In doing this will help to maintain funding for critical mental health and substance use treatment services. Click on this link to learn more and sign the petition. https://bit.ly/mentalhealthpetition1
May 14, 2020 CALL FOR ACTION
As communicated by ANCOR
PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!!
Tell Your Representatives to Stop Overlooking Medicaid-Funded Disability Services by Voting YES on the HEROES Act TODAY, the House is expected to vote on the HEROES Act, its latest COVID-19 legislative package which contains significant provisions to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the providers that support them. This is the opening salvo in negotiations with the Senate and White House for the fourth package and we anticipate the final package will look different from this proposal. However, the HEROES Act contains provisions that will be enormously helpful to people with I/DD and the Medicaid-funded I/DD services that support them, and will serve as Democrats' framework for deciding what to support in the final legislation that is taken up by the House and the Senate. Please take one minute today to use our email and Twitter tools to tell you member of Congress to vote YES on this vital legislation to finally aid and acknowledge the #ForgottenFaces on the frontlines.
Acknowledging those we've lost; working to ensure further lives are spared
Latest News: Seven Senators Send Letter to HHS Advocating for Relief for Providers of Disability Supports
Earlier this week a bipartisan collection of seven Senators, three Republican and four Democratic, sent a letter to Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. In the letter, these Senators briefly detail challenges providers are facing by highlighting key data points in ANCOR's Human and Fiscal Impact Report. In it they write:
The situation these providers confront is extremely challenging. In a recent survey of over 1,600 community providers serving individuals with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) conducted by the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), 68% of respondents reported having had to close one or more service lines, resulting in a 32% average loss of revenue. Additionally, 52% of all organizations surveyed reported having increased staff overtime expenses. On average, respondents reported an additional $28,000 in monthly expenses (e.g., PPE, cleaning supplies, etc.).
This is a promising development for the #ForgottenFaces campaign because it shows our priority is garnering traction with influential lawmakers, who in turn can persuade their colleagues to support our services. We thank Senators Joni Ernst [R-IA], Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY], Maggie Hassan [D-NH], Martha McSally [R-AZ], Christopher Murphy [D-CT], Tina Smith [D-MN] and Thom Tillis [R-NC] for amplifying ANCOR's continued calls for federal relief. With the HEROES Act expected to pass the House of Representatives and head to the Senate (more on that below), we will need to be just as vocal in our efforts to ensure key provisions remain in the final bill.
What We're Reading: #ForgottenFaces in the News
D.C.'s Intellectually Disabled Residents Face High Rates of Infection, And Their Caretakers Are Stretched Thin
Jenny Gathright | DCist, May 12, 2020
Survey Shows COVID-19s Impact on Disability Service Providers
Katiera Winfrey | WISH-TV, May 13, 2020
They Care for People 'Round the Clock in Washington State During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Let's Not Forget Them.
Naomi Ishisaka | The Seattle Times, May 11, 2020
April 20, 2020 CALL FOR ACTION
As communicated by ANCOR
Today, Congress announced it is working on an interim COVID-19 funding bill to sustain small businesses while it works on a larger relief package that we anticipate will be debated in May. This represents an additional opportunity to reassert to Congress that funding disability supports is a matter of life or death.
The Ask: Use this tool to ask that interim COVID-19 small business relief legislation include funding for providers of I/DD supports.
The Details: Specifically, we need you to ask Congress to support funding that would:
1. Stabilize Medicaid-funded supports so they remain operational during the crisis.
2. Retain essential community supports currently suspended due to social isolation, to ensure they can reopen after the crisis.
3. Supercharge staff stabilization, retention, and recruitment.
As reported by Politico:
Congress and the Trump administration are quickly nearing a deal on more than $400 billion in emergency funding for small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Senate expected to vote on the legislation on Tuesday and the House on Wednesday.
Word of the impending deal came after Congress allowed the small-business rescue fund it set up to exhaust its $350 billion funding capacity on Thursday, amid a standoff over Democrats’ demand that the package include aid for hospitals and state and local governments. It appears Democrats will get some of their new demands, but will have to fight for the state and local funding in the next round of aid.
Please speak up today! Your continued pressure was effective in encouraging Congress to include policies that strengthen disability supports in previous COVID-19 legislation. Now, more support is critical to address the needs of people with disabilities and those who support them during this crisis.
April 10, 2020 CALL FOR ACTION
Please scroll down for 3 opportunities to Take Action!
From the Arc of New Jersey
People With Disabilities, Families, and Direct Support Professionals:
Tell Congress #WeAreEssential & #FixtheGlitch for SSI
We know this is a difficult time for each and every one of you and that your lives are now full with new responsibilities and unfamiliar routines. We ask you to please take a moment, whenever your schedule allows, to participate in these two very important action items. Both items will only take a few minutes of your time but doing so will send a big message to our elected officials as they make critical decisions impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families during this global health crisis.
Item #1: #WeAreEssential: Tell Congress to Include the Disability Community in COVID-19 Relief Bills
Congress has passed three bills to respond to the coronavirus pandemic – but they have not addressed the critical needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional (DSP) workforce. Read The Arc’s statement on the latest bill here. The entire country is facing the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, but people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. People with disabilities are more likely to have underlying health conditions and live in poverty – this means that they will be disproportionately impacted and need ongoing support. Click here to take action.
Item #2: Act Now to #FixtheGlitch for SSI!
Millions of people with disabilities who rely on SSI or certain Veterans benefits are eligible for coronavirus stimulus money, but aren't going to get that money automatically because the Treasury, Social Security Administration and Veterans Affairs aren't working together and sharing data. Instead, they’re going to force millions of low-income people with disabilities, many of them veterans, to file tax returns to tell the Government that they didn’t make any money. This useless paperwork requirement will delay payments and be a huge burden for people with disabilities, their families, and service providers. Tell them that they need to #FixtheGlitch and autopay people with disabilities and veterans!
From Ancor - CALL FOR ACTION
Ask Congress to Fund Disability Services
We have heard from our Congressional allies that the House might begin drafting a fourth COVID-19 package sooner than anticipated. Instead of drafting at the end of the month, we now hear House leadership might begin the process as soon as this week. Congress needs to hear from you today about continuing challenges in disability supports during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Ask: Take 2 minutes today with ANCOR's one-click action tool to ask Congress to fund essential components of disability supports that were not included in the CARES Act. Funding is needed to:
Sustain the operations of Medicaid-funded disability service providers
Prevent the closure of disability programs
Supercharge staff stabilization, retention, recruitment and protection efforts
But before we move on... We recognize that March was an intense advocacy month and want to take a moment to show our appreciation for your personal advocacy. Your voice is important, and Congress showed that it heard you by including meaningful disability provisions in the CARES Act. Thank you!
March 31, 2020 CALL FOR ACTION
Thank you to Congress and An Ask for the Next Relief Package
Dear NJACP Members, Families and Advocates:
Thank you for all your advocacy thus far! The "asks" are coming fast during this crisis. ANCOR has sent the very important call for action below and we are hopeful members and others will respond. It partly thanks Congress, and a thank you can go a long way, especially since there is more our industry needs to sustain itself and Congress is already looking to what they would like included in the next COVID 19 relief bill. So please take a minute or two and use the link below to respond? Thanks so much.
The Ask: Use our one-click email tool to (1) thank Congress for including key disability provisions in the CARES Act, which became law last week, and (2) lay out essential next steps Congress must take to further stabilize I/DD supports during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Details: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by the president on Friday, March 27. It contained three key provisions (listed below) which ANCOR’s community of advocates fought hard to obtain in the week leading up to the vote. Thanking your members of Congress when they support important disability legislation creates long-term goodwill and an opportunity to lay groundwork for future advocacy.
In particular, we want to thank Congress for:
• Making permanent “Margie and Isaiah’s Law,” which enables states to reimburse Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) for the time they spend supporting individuals during short-term hospitalizations.
• Making Medicaid-funded disability service providers eligible for emergency small business loans. Medicaid providers had been excluded in previous drafts, but your advocacy made a difference!
• Renewing the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program through November 30, 2020.
In addition to expressing our appreciation, we also want to educate Congress on important next steps it must take when working on a fourth COVID-19 relief package in May. Notably, advocates should emphasize the need to:
(1) improve provider organizations’ cash flow to ensure they can sustain their operations;
(2) prevent the closure of programs or service lines on which people with I/DD rely;(3) supercharge staff stabilization efforts so providers are well-equipped to retain, recruit and protect the health of direct support professionals.
By taking action today, you will help members of Congress and their staff—many of whom have been working tirelessly to ensure the needs of people with disabilities are met during this global health pandemic—feel appreciated. In turn, this will encourage their openness to future proposals that further stabilize disability supports. THANK YOU!!
March 23, 2020 Please see 2 ACTION ALERTS BELOW
ACTION ALERT #1
Due to some procedural challenges in the Senate that arose during the vote on the latest COVID-19 funding package, we now have extra time to make our voices be heard on the need for intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) supports to be included in the relief package.
The Ask: Use our email tool to ask that the COVID-19 relief legislation include I/DD supports. As of right now, I/DD supports are NOT included!
The Details: Tonight, the Senate was supposed to vote on its latest COVID-19 funding package, which included $75 billion for a Public Health and Social Service Emergency Fund. However, the vote fell short of the required 60 votes to move the package, giving us an extra window of opportunity to ask for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers to be explicitly included in the package. As written, HCBS waivers are not included and there is ambiguity on which “care” providers are eligible for the emergency funding – which means the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary could impose limitations on which services receive the funds, leaving HCBS supports at risk of not receiving badly needed extra funding for overtime pay, hazard pay, DSP recruitment, paid family and sick leave, support for closed day services, etc.
Please keep up the pressure on Congress – we are hearing from insiders on Capitol Hill that your continued advocacy is making a difference!
American Network of Community Options & Resources
1101 King Street, Suite 380
Alexandria, VA 22314
ACTION ALERT #2
ACT NOW on Charitable Deduction in COVID-19 Relief Bill
NJAMHAA is sharing this advocacy alert from the Center for Non-Profits.
To all non-profit leaders and people who care about the work of charitable non-profits:
The Republican draft emergency economic stimulus bill in the U.S. Senate would allow all taxpayers – not just those who itemize their deductions – to receive a $300 tax credit. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) will be offering an amendment today or tomorrow that would significantly increase the cap on the above-the-line charitable deduction from what is in the draft Senate Republican bill. The National Council of Nonprofits has endorsed the Lankford Amendment and encourages your organization to do so too.
Please take two steps, IMMEDIATELY:
1. Fill out this online form to show your support for the proposed amendment
2. Send this message as a mass Action Alert to your networks; feel free to customize and send with your own logo, or for the sake of time, simply forward this email. Please act quickly.
3. Finally, please email or Tweet Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker to ask them to vote YES on the Lankford charitable deduction amendment.
NOTE - there are still many key provisions still in dispute as Democrats and Republicans are working NOW to negotiate this bill. But non-profits need a meaningful charitable giving incentive to be part of any package passed by Congress.
Thank you for your advocacy.
NJAMHAA | 3635 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 35, Mercerville, NJ 08619